In the era of sustainable development, every corporation seems to have taken 'going green' quite seriously, as evidenced by the plethora of environment-friendly initiatives taken by large corporations.
To add to this growing list of initiatives, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Bangladesh –more commonly known as HSBC Ltd has introduced its first-ever calendar application at the turn of the year, instead of following the traditional practice of releasing paper-made calendars.
The application is called 'HSBC My Calendar'. The app currently has a rating of 4.8 and has already been downloaded more than 1,000 times within 5 days of its launch.
When asked about the underlying motivation behind this decision, Nowrin Islam, a Vice President at HSBC Ltd Bangladesh said that it was a part of their 'greener tomorrow initiative'-an initiative taken by the bank to reduce its carbon footprint on the environment.
"Each year all the banks in Bangladesh produce paper calendars at the turn of the year. These calendars are made of paper, which requires cutting down a lot of trees. So, this year we decided to make a paperless calendar instead," Nowrin added.
It has been estimated that the production of a ton of paper requires at least 24 full-grown trees to be cut down. Taking into account the number of calendars produced in Bangladesh, and worldwide by the banks and other organisations, such a shift to online calendar apps is a welcoming initiative.
The calendar app is simple, static and does not allow setting up plans or reminders. It is easily switchable from the Gregorian calendar to the Bangla Calendar by changing the language.
"In my experience, our next generation are blissfully unaware of the Bangla Calendar or the Bangla months. We believe by incorporating the Bangla calendar, we can point them a little towards the right direction."
HSBC Bangladesh is celebrating its 25 years in Bangladesh and Nowrin believed that the app was the multinational corporation's way of paying its homage to Bangladesh, its history and culture.
Each special occasion of the year such as Pahela Falgun, Pahela Baishakh, International Mother Language, the birthday of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Independence Day etc. are well accompanied by suitable music and photography. The app is free to use and does not require an internet connection. You can download it from Google Play Store, as well as Apple App Store.
We asked Nowrin whether there was any plan to make the application more dynamic and allow the users to make plans, set reminders like more traditional calendar applications such as Google Calendar.
"Currently, we do not have any plans to introduce these features in the application. However, if the application is well-received by the consumers, then we will begin incorporating those features in the app as well," Nowrin responded.
Although such initiatives are encouraging, some may argue that this is minuscule compared to the size of HSBC and leaves much to be desired. The TBS Team wanted to know whether HSBC believed in a paperless world when it came to their operations and management as well.
When asked about this, Nowrin informed us of the digitisation initiatives taken by HSBC.
HSBC Bangladesh is currently working on making Blockchain transactions more mainstream in the country. HSBC claims to have executed the first-ever cross-border Blockchain LC, as well as, the first-ever inter-bank Blockchain transaction of the country.
They also claim to have pioneered e-Customs duty payment and live eVAT payment transactions in Bangladesh. This year the bank launched a Cash Flow Forecasting tool to help clients build a more accurate picture of their future finances and manage liquidity.
In addition, to support the digital banking requirements of the clients, HSBC Bangladesh has already launched smart digital propositions like Enhanced Virtual Account, Direct Debit, etc. HSBC has invested in continuing the momentum by providing clients with more digital solutions in the coming period.
Whether or not such initiatives will have a tangible impact on the environment remains to be seen. For the time being, however, let's hope other banks and financial institutions also adopt a more paperless operations management.